Seven months ago in April 2016, construction began on the redesign of Barbara Ann Scott Park. Originally built in the 1980s, this park was constructed on top of the underground parking garage for 777 Bay Street, and is now surrounded by high-rise development on all four sides. As a result of recent residential development in the immediate area, City Staff agreed after some years of planning that the aging park should be revitalized to better serve the growing population.
With the help of Section 37 and 45(9) agreements between Canderel and the City of Toronto for the development of Aura at College Park, $3 million was contributed to the revitalization of the MBTW Group/Watchorn Architects and RAW designed-park. In June, City Council voted in favour of funding the project, contributing $2.5 million via the City Park's capital budget. This will include a skating trail that was initially left off the original plan, and will replace the oval skating rink that discontinued operations in 2012.
During the spring and summer months, the site was blocked off from pedestrians as the construction crew cleared the site of its landscape and demolished the existing pavilion. Work then began on re-waterproofing the roof membranes for the underground garage, beginning at the northwest corner. Visible changes were first seen in September, and work continues on re-waterproofing different areas of the site to ensure the longevity of the garage below, and therefore the new park above.
The photo above, taken on September 24, shows the majority of the site cleared and exposing the roof membrane of the parking garage.
Flash forward a few weeks later, the photo above shows the site as seen from October 18, while the photo below shows the progress six days later on October 24. As seen in the images, pink insulation boards are being installed above the membrane skin.
Once the re-waterproofing stage of construction is complete, the next step is to install the insulation boards throughout certain areas of the park, then place the soil overtop. The insulation will further help protect the membrane skin, and will also raise the height of the park in specific areas. December is the targeted month for completing the entire waterproofing.
The second phase will include the construction of the park's landscaping, a 5-metre wide rubberized skate-friendly trail, and the service facility. Most recently—and despite the scheduled phasing—it appears that the framing for the new service facility has begun on the mid eastern side. This building will serve as a warming area (to lace up skates) during the winter months, and will a include family-style washroom, a small office, and a zamboni garage.
Improved connections will be made to the south access point from Gerrard St., which is currently paved with asphalt, and the east access point from Yonge St., which currently acts as a delivery space and contains the construction machinery for the park.
The 0.75 hectare park is expected to be completed in the latter half of 2017. Once finished, Barbara Ann Scott Park will surely be a great improvement and bring a breathe of fresh air to the once deteriorating and passive space that stood here not too long ago.
We will keep you updated as this project moves along during construction. In the meantime, additional information can be found in our dataBase file for the project, linked below. Want to join in on the discussion? Our associated forum thread is regularly updated with photos by some of our UrbanToronto contributors, or feel free to leave a comment in the space provided at the bottom of this page.